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This is the inaugural column of a new commentary for SAT-7 USA called “Good News from the Middle East.”

Good News is a play on words. First, Good News signals we’ll endeavor to bring you positive feedback, edifying stories, God’s blessings in the face of adversity, accounts of actual progress of any kind in the Middle East. Second, Good News is about the Gospel, the biblical redemption narrative through which Jesus offers forgiveness and hope to all who respond to his name.

While good news from the Middle East is virtually absent in American media, “Good News” presenting a God of unconditional love is virtually unknown to the ears of more than 500 million people living in the 22 countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). That’s a disturbing fact, because it perpetuates hopelessness both here and there.

American Christians tend to look at MENA through filters: 1) cultural differences greater than the average person recognizes, 2) politics involving two wars, 3) residual anger relating to 9/11, 4) frustration with seemingly intractable problems, 5) fear rooted in physical or cultural or religious threats, real and apparent, to our well-being and way of life, 6) inclination to trust and support Israelis while withholding the same for Palestinians, and 7) difficult as it is to admit, bias, prejudice, and sometimes racist perspectives.

When I say “filters” I’m not blaming. I understand our anxiety. Nor am I implying our concerns are baseless, only that they can blur our vision for what God is doing and what he may ask of us. MENA people are either sinners saved by grace or sinners in need of grace, just like us.

So as believers who acknowledge God’s sovereignty we ought to celebrate good news while communicating Good News. In this historical moment, SAT-7 is the best way to do this. It’s an uncensored purveyor of Good News, and that’s good news for us all, because Jesus can change the future of MENA one heart at a time.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

Originally posted at January 19, 2010.

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

Len Galloway went to be with the Lord last evening. I’ll miss him because Sarah and I count Len and Orpha among our best of friends.

The Lord blessed Len with a very long and good life, an especially good wife, and three sons and their families, all of whom live nearby. Near the end he did not suffer and he slipped away as quietly and easily as perhaps one can. This, too, is a gift of God.

I will always remember Len in a quite personal way. Len and I talked at length about Christian decision-making, worldview, religion and politics, and culture. Because of those conversations he kept after me for years to write a book about Christian liberty. I finally did. In the book’s Acknowledgements I cited Len’s persistence, saying “In our relationship over more than ten years, every time I saw the man—and I do mean every time—he asked me about the status of this book. Then he’d encourage, beg, cajole, and “threaten” me to get it completed because he so deeply believed the Christian community is being needlessly torn apart by disagreements in the culture wars. Len, your confidence and dogged determination were something I needed. Thank you.” I appreciated Len then and I still appreciate him now for that support.

While we are a generation younger, age never seemed to make much difference in our friendship, partly because for many years Orpha served as Dr. Galloway at Cornerstone University where I also worked. And Sarah and Orpha became walking buddies and confidantes. We were privileged to travel together to exotic places like Hawaii and Cancun, and Sarah traveled additional times with them when Orpha led Chancel Singers tours or the two of them led university friends’ bus trips to various parts of the country.

Len will be missed by a wonderful and faithful wife and his extended family and friends. But it’s good to know he’s with the Lord and to have experienced Len’s one final good example. As his time neared, and he knew it, Len showed us how to wait for the Lord’s timing, trust Him, and then meet Him in faith and peace.

You were a good man and a good friend, Len. We’ll see you again someday.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at, or follow Dr. Rogers at


I am pleased to announce that God has blessed me with the appointment as President of SAT-7 USA, based in Easton, Maryland, which is the American promotion and fundraising arm of SAT-7, based in Nicosia, Cyprus, a Christian satellite television ministry producing quality indigenous programming by and for people of the Middle East and North Africa. I will begin full-time with SAT-7 USA August 24, 2009.

Sat-7 was founded in 1995 by veteran British missions expert Mr. Terry Ascott, who continues as International CEO. SAT-7 is governed by an International Board of Directors comprised of individuals from more than ten countries and SAT-7 USA is governed by an affiliated U.S. Board of Directors. About 100 employees work for the ministry, located primarily in the Middle East. Approximately twelve staff members work for SAT-7 USA and some staff members work in Europe and specifically in the United Kingdom.

SAT-7 supports four 24/7 channels in three languages: SAT-7 Arabic, SAT-7 Kids (Arabic), SAT-7 PARS (Farsi), and most recently, TURK-7. SAT-7 maintains studios in Beirut, Lebanon and Cairo, Egypt.

Programming is Christian, culturally sensitive, non-political and non-partisan, and non-denominational. Amazingly, SAT-7 has been able to produce its programming at an annual cost of about $1 per viewer. More than 50% of people in the Middle East and North Africa have access to satellite television, and the broadcast signal cannot be economically or in most cases technologically blocked. In some countries covering 7 time zones in the SAT-7 viewing area, satellite access is much higher. A conservative estimate suggests 10-12 million viewers watch SAT-7 on a regular basis. Countries reached by SAT-7 include: Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and more.

I will travel extensively with the ministry throughout the United States and generally several times per year to the Middle East, either to participate in staff and board meetings or to host donors supporting the ministry. Sarah and I are not planning to move from Grand Rapids, Michigan at this time.

During the past six months, on behalf of The Timothy Group, I was privileged to serve as Interim Executive Director for SAT-7 USA. My new email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2009

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Dr. Michael E. Wittmer’s new book, Don’t Stop Believing: Why Living Like Jesus Is Not Enough, Zondervan (2008), is a well-written examination and evaluation of the frontiers of evangelical Christian thought. Wittmer tackles questions emerging from those who yearn for a “new kind of Christian,” among them pastor/writers like Brian McLaren. To avoid confusion with other terms, Wittmer calls these individuals “postmodern innovators,” yet demonstrates a profound respect throughout his book for those with whom he disagrees.

Wittmer’s chapters are developed from these questions, which he answers, making the deeper theological and philosophical topics presented easier to grasp. Wittmer notes how the pendulum on the perimeter of evangelicalism is swinging from a concern for right doctrine to a concern for right living. Then he asks, Why does one have to replace the other? He demonstrates why belief is still critical to the Christian faith and argues that while faith without works is dead, so works without faith do not work.

Wittmer is Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary and is a bright, young star on the conservative evangelical horizon. His first book, Heaven Is A Place On Earth: Why Everything You Do Matters To God, Zondervan (2004), is still doing well and both books call Christians to an understanding of the Bible and life practice more faithful to God’s Word. Both books are well worth the cost and the time to read them.


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2009

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

For the next few months, I will serve as the Interim Executive Director of SAT-7 USA, a satellite television ministry producing quality Christian programming for Arabic peoples in the Middle East and North Africa.

This means The Timothy Group, for whom I work as Vice President, has developed a consulting relationship with SAT-7 USA (actually, TTG, via my friend and fellow consultant Derric Bakker, has been working with SAT-7 USA in fund development for the past year and one-half) wherein we provide the ministry with short-term leadership. SAT-7 USA’s full-time Executive Director recently departed. My role as Interim will be to assist the fine professionals working at SAT-7 in maintaining momentum and preparing the organization for an anticipated search for a new, permanent Executive Director. I’ll serve in this capacity for as long as the SAT-7 USA Board and The Timothy Group deem it helpful.

If you click this link:, then click “News and Events,” then “News,” you’ll find an announcement about my work with SAT-7 USA. This is the U.S. website. SAT-7 offers several other websites, including in Arabic, which you may discover if you Google SAT-7 (sometimes listed as SAT7).

Founded in 1995, SAT-7’s U.S. headquarters is located in Easton, Maryland and the ministry maintains production studios in Cyprus, Egypt, and Lebanon. SAT-7’s mission is to share the person and message of Christ via satellite television with Arabic peoples in the 10-40 window. SAT-7 produces quality content that is evangelical and evangelistic. God has blessed the ministry with hundreds, even thousands, of contacts with Arabic people who have learned about Christianity, been encouraged, or accepted Christ because they heard the truth in their homes on satellite television.

During the last week of January, I’ll travel to North Carolina to meet with Derric and SAT-7 USA board members, then to Maryland to meet staff members. During the last week of February, I’ll likely fly to Cyprus for SAT-7’s annual international management meeting. I’d appreciate, and I’m sure SAT-7 USA would value, your prayers.


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2009

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at


Senator and presidential candidate John Edwards’s admitted affair reintroduces a recurring pattern—political leaders trying to recoup their public reputations in the wake of poor personal choices.

Edwards, like several who’ve gone before him, lied repeatedly before owning his indiscretions.  Now he’s making the familiar round of talk shows and news outlets purportedly “coming clean” with a series of mea culpas.

New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevy and New York Governor Eliot Spitzer both lost their public office because of sexual scandals.  The Reverend Jesse Jackson lost some of his moral credibility as a social activist because he fathered a child in an extra-marital affair.  President John F. Kennedy didn’t live to see his extra-marital White House affairs exposed to the public, but his legacy suffers because of them.

When it comes to questionable character in a leader President Bill Clinton is Exhibit A.  During his second term he endured the nation’s second presidential impeachment trial, racked up millions in legal fees, and was disbarred because he lied under oath—which all started in the scandal of his “inappropriate relationship” with a White House intern.

President Clinton’s hubris in conducting an affair in or near the Oval Office, ambiguous definitions of words like “sexual relations” and “is,” glib lies to the American people, and squandered political leadership opportunities presented us once again with a leadership question.

Do a leader’s private choices inevitably affect his or her public actions?  Politicians, pundits, and professors debated whether it’s possible for a leader to act with such mind-bogglingly questionable judgment privately while acting with astute judgment publicly.

In the United States historically, private character and public action were considered inextricably linked.  Yet at the time of President Clinton’s impeachment, some 70% of the American people did not want Congress to pursue the matter.  So the Senate’s vote during the trial fell short of conviction and President Clinton was spared the ignominy of being bounced from office.

Whatever your thoughts on the outcome of this trial, we can say that the American people’s inclination to separate private from public character is a choice with consequences not yet fully understood.  The lasting ripple effects of the Clinton affair only history will tell.  But it’s neither a partisan comment nor a cheap shot to say that the impact of one leader’s poor character choices can greatly and negatively affect a nation—or an organization.

But what kind of poor character choices should cause us to disqualify a person from leadership?  Where do you draw the line?  According to the present American mindset private sexual immorality is apparently O.K., but what private character choices are not O.K. for a leader or potential leader, particularly in public office?

President Clinton, for example, was not a traitorous man.  He was not an autocrat or a murderer.  He did good things in office, even as a sexually immoral man.  He is charismatic and many people like him.  Some people seem to like him because he’s a rogue.  So his “not-so-bad-just-like-the-rest-of-us” immorality tends to be written off with softer words like antics or peccadilloes.  But still, the problem remains.  Which character fault lines in a leader’s heart should give us pause?  What about a candidate for office who’s known or shown to be a congenital liar?

What about a leadership candidate who admits to illegal behavior but explains it away as one of his or her “youthful indiscretions”?  Allow me to say it again, where do you draw the line?  Should private morality be ignored?  How does a political leader (or you or me) separate his or her moral being into private and public personas?

From a Christian perspective, the short answer is “You can’t.”  Yet that’s what our culture now seems to believe.  You see?  It’s tough.  We’re all sinners.  Any of us who are leaders or leader-aspirants have already established a record of wrong choices in our lives.  We’re human.  We were born in sin and we’ve committed varying levels of wrong-doing ever since.

We know it’s impossible to select perfect leaders because there are no perfect people, so we work with a sliding scale.  We place character choices (often subconsciously) on a continuum running from Acceptable-to-Unacceptable.  Where a character choice sits on that continuum varies based upon our cultural values at a given point in time.  Before President Ronald Reagan, for example, candidates for the highest office in the land were not taken seriously if they’d ever been divorced.  Now it doesn’t seem to matter.

We know that good and bad behavior exists and, consequently, we know that good and bad leaders exist.  But as a culture we sometimes struggle with where one fades into the other.

How do you recognize bad leaders?  They lack integrity.  They allow fundamental flaws to fester in their character.  These flaws are not the vague “He’s struggling with his demons” you read about in the press, as if something or someone else is responsible.  No, these flaws are sinful attitudes and behaviors sprung from the leader’s own hearts.

There’s generally a pattern of wrong moral choices in a bad leader’s character.  Bad leaders don’t tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  Bad leaders live for their own self-aggrandizement.  They take from rather than grow with the people.  Bad leaders’ lives and leadership are a running story of ethical lapses and duplicity.

Bad leaders always exact a price from their nation or their organization.  They can destroy in a matter of months what took years to build.

In the Old Testament book of Proverbs, God reminds us that, “when the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan” (29:2).  Good leaders and good leadership are a blessing.  Bad leaders and bad leadership are a curse.

Long after President Gerald R. Ford’s administration, former Senator Alan Simpson summarized well the importance of a leader’s character when he introduced Mr. Ford at Harvard University.  Simpson said, “If you have integrity, nothing else matters.  If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.”

The continuum of Acceptable to Unacceptable character choices we tolerate in our leaders is a picture of how Americans think about values, character, and leadership.  It’s not necessarily a trustworthy guide for how God thinks about these matters.  Nor should it be our standard because in Christian terms good enough is not good enough.

God’s moral standard for leadership is high.  He said, “from everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48).


© Dr. Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2008

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at